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Official Zelda Series Timeline Explained

Though each Legend of Zelda game seems to feature its own unique universe and storyline, that hasn't stopped fans from trying to put the games together into some sort of chronological timeline. Though many dismissed these attempts to slot the games in order, a new official artbook from Nintendo apparently confirms that there is indeed a correct timeline for the series, though its definitely more confusing than anyone could've foreseen.

According to the book, the timeline starts off simple enough:

Initial Timeline

  1. Skyward Sword
  2. Minish Cap
  3. Four Swords
  4. Ocarina of Time

Where things get complicated are with Ocarina of Time's time-travel plotline. Due to Link's jumping around the timestream, three seperate universes were created. In the first timelime, when OOT's Link first pulls out the Master Sword and goes into the future, he actually travels to an alternate future universe, disapearing from his original universe forever. This "original universe" timeline continues on without OOT's Link to defeat Ganon, who is instead trapped by the seven sages, setting up the events of Link to the Past.

Original Universe

  1. Initial Timeline - Link disapears from OOT's Past
  2. Link to the Past
  3. Oracle of Ages / Oracle of Seasons
  4. Link's Awakening
  5. The Legend of Zelda
  6. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link


The moment everything went screwy...

In the second timeline, Link triumphs in the future universe against OOT's Ganon, but then returns to the past. This leaves the future universe without a Link to fight against Ganon once he returns, forcing Hyrule to flood the kingdom to save it, and setting up Wind Waker.

Future Universe

  1. Initial Timeline - Link disapears from OOT's Future
  2. Wind Waker
  3. Phantom Hourglass
  4. Spirit Tracks


Without Ocarina of Time's link to protect the future, the people of Hyrule... build a train?

In the third timeline, we continue to follow Ocarina of Time's Link, who after defeating Ganon in the future, returns to an alternate past universe not knowing of the timeline splits he's created (that's what you get for mucking around with space-time). This Link continues his adventures, blissfully unaware of the damage he's wrought upon the other two timelines.

Past Universe

  1. Initial Timeline - Link travels to an alternate past and continues his adventures
  2. Majora's Mask
  3. Twilight Princess
  4. Four Swords Adventures


This plucky little kid has no idea he just fractured space-time like a boss.

So there you have it, three epic timelines continuing on all at once. The question now is will Nintendo ever seek to reconcile these three universes? Or will an infinite number of Links continue their endless fight against Ganon unaware of their brothers in these multiple worlds? The former seems like it could result in a rather epic storyline, though we're still wondering how the CDi Zelda's fit into all this...


I AM THE ULTIMATE TIME LORD.

 

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Vito Gesualdi GameZone.com Senior Editor, DraftMagic.com Editor-in-Chief, NoNoComedy.com Contributor, and the hardest working man in show business. King of video walkthroughs for new games. Follow me on the twitters @VitoGesualdi.
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